Most people think that an insurance company will want to help them get the money they need after an accident, especially if the accident was not their fault.
Unfortunately, this is not exactly how insurance companies work. They are a business, and like other businesses, they want to make money. By paying you less after an accident, the more money they make. Consequently, these insurance companies may try to do anything they can to find evidence they can use against you.
To prepare you to take on these insurance companies, we have created the following blog. In it, we will discuss how you can protect your claim and the statements you should avoid making to the insurance company after an accident.
Avoid Assuming Blame
Following an accident, you want to avoid blaming yourself for anything, making any definitive statements about the accident, or apologizing.
Do not make these statements to the police, the other motorists involved in the accident, or your insurance company. These types of comments can come back later and hurt your claim, ultimately impacting the amount of money you can collect for the harm you sustained.
Avoid Talking to the Insurance Company Right After an Accident
You should avoid talking to the insurance company immediately after an accident, especially when you are stressed, shocked, and confused about what happened. Instead, you should first take care of your medical needs and protect your legal interests before you reach out to the insurance company.
You need to remember that the insurance company wants different things than you. While you want to make sure you get the compensation you need to cover your bills and expenses, the insurance company is seeking to close your case as fast as possible and for as little as possible. As a result, you should not discuss anything with them while you are most vulnerable.
Avoid Indicating That You Are Not Injured
Even if your injuries appear to be minor following an accident, you should not make any declarations that you are “fine” or that you did not suffer any serious injuries after the accident.
Often, symptoms of serious injuries such as brain trauma or internal bleeding can take some time to show up, so you may not even know you are suffering these debilitating injuries when discussing the incident with an adjuster. That is why, before you indicate anything about your injuries, you should first get examined by a doctor. You also want to avoid signing any medical releases until you discuss the situation with an attorney.
Avoid Stating That You “Think”
If you discuss anything with the insurance company, you want to avoid any opinion or “I think” statements. Rather, if you do not know the answer to the questions presented, it is acceptable to say that you do not know. However, do not estimate or offer a guess when you are not sure of something. This applies to questions regarding your speed, driving distance, or other estimates that may be asked of you.
Avoid Making Official Statements
Making an official recorded statement is not for your benefit, rather they are in place to serve the insurance company’s interests. These statements, when made, are thoughtfully examined and looked over for any contradictory information or inconsistencies.
In some instances, this information can even be taken out of context or used against you. For these reasons, before making any statements, you should discuss your accident with a personal injury lawyer.
Avoid Giving the Insurance Company Other People’s Names
You want to stick to the basics when dealing with the insurance company. This means you want to avoid giving them any information regarding the names or contact details of others in your life, including family members, friends, coworkers, or your doctors. The insurance company may try to contact these individuals to get more information about the accident and your recovery.
Avoid Discussing Unnecessary Information
Do not offer any details to the insurance company if they are not asked of you. For instance, if you are not asked about how fast you were going at the time of a car crash, do not bring it up with the insurance company on your own.
Or, if you are using your car as a ride-sharing vehicle, do not mention it to the insurer. Anything you discuss with the insurance company can be used against you. For these reasons, you should keep any unnecessary information to yourself.
Avoid Accepting Any Insurance Settlement Offer Before Speaking with an Attorney
Following an accident, the insurance company may offer you a settlement offer. However, although this may sound like great news, especially if you are not working because of your injuries and your medical bills keep mounting, accepting this offer may be a mistake.
Typically, the initial settlement that the insurance company offers you will be a meager amount that will not fully compensate you for your injuries and losses. In fact, this amount will rarely cover any of your current costs, let alone your future ongoing needs. Yet, once you accept this offer, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money down the road, even if the costs are related to the original accident.
As a result, before you accept any offer from the insurance company, you should reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer. These attorneys can review this settlement offer and determine if it is fair to you. If it is not, they can try to negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf.
Avoid Making Statements About Injuries You Do Not Have
One of the most common phrases individuals make when they are trying to file a dishonest claim is that they have whiplash. Consequently, this statement is often a red flag for insurance companies that will usually result in them taking a more thorough look into your claim. That is why, unless a medical professional diagnoses you with whiplash, do not claim to have it following your accident.
Avoid Indicating That You Do Not Have an Attorney
If you tell the insurance company that you do not have a personal injury attorney, it can lead to the insurance company trying to take advantage of you.
For these reasons, if you do not have an attorney, do not mention it to the insurer. Rather try to find experienced counsel as quickly as possible. The insurance company is more likely to give you and your claim the respect and attention it requires when you have an experienced lawyer on your side because these companies know you are working with someone that has the skills and knowledge to take on these claims and fight for the damages you deserve.
Other Tips to Keep in Mind When Speaking With the Insurance Company
Now that you understand what comments you should avoid making when talking to the insurance company, you also want to make sure you understand what things you should do and how you should act with the insurance company during your first post-accident phone call with one of their representatives.
#1. Make Sure You Stay Calm
Even though you may be angry and stressed out about the accident and the harm you sustained, you want to avoid taking out your anger on the insurance adjuster. This will not help with your settlement offer. Rather it may impact how fast or slow they handle your claim. As a result, when you are on the phone with them, you want to stay professional and keep your cool.
#2. Get Information Regarding Who You Are Speaking With
Before you say anything to the insurance company when they call, you first want to get the representative’s name, telephone number, and information regarding the insurance company they are working for.
#3. Provide Limited Personal Information
Many people think that the insurance company needs as many details as possible following an accident. However, when speaking with them for the first time, you do not have to provide them with all of your personal information. Instead, giving them your full name, telephone number, and address should be enough.
#4. Provide Limited Information About the Accident
Insurance adjusters are trained to get information out of you. That is why even though it may seem like the adjuster is simply having a conversation with you, they may subtly try to get details about the accident. If this happens, make sure you politely refuse to discuss any facts of the accident except the most basic information, including where the accident occurred, when it happened, the type of accident it was, and standard statements about the vehicles involved if there was a car collision. If they want further details, let them know that the accident is still under investigation and that you cannot discuss the facts at this time.
Better yet, you can also let these insurance companies know that all further discussions about the accident will be through your lawyer. Once retained, these attorneys can handle these conversations on your behalf and ensure you do not say anything that can impact your claim or give away more information than you should.
#5. Provide Limited Details About Your Injuries
The adjuster will want to know everything about your injuries, including the type of harm you sustained and the extent of these injuries. However, you do not need to provide a full, detailed description of these injuries.
Remember, if you leave out something or the injury becomes more severe later on, it can impact your claim. For these reasons, you can just tell the insurance adjuster that you are still being treated and leave it at that, or better yet, leave this conversation to your attorney.
#6. Jot Down Notes About What You Discuss
If you speak with the insurance company before you retain an attorney, make sure you take notes regarding your conversation as well as any information or requests that the insurance company makes.
#7. Set a Limit on the Conversation
During that first conversation with the insurance company, make it clear that you will not discuss the accident. Refer them to your lawyer.
This is because adjusters are known to call frequently to get you to settle quickly. That is why it is best to set limits on these calls before they become a massive nuisance for you and your family.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Accident Lawyer and Get the Legal Help You Need
After an accident, you already have enough on your plate. The last thing you want to worry about is handling the insurance company, which wants nothing more than to deny your claim or pay you less than you deserve. Thankfully, with an experienced personal injury accident lawyer on your side, you will not have to take on the fight alone. Instead, these lawyers can take on all the conversations, discussions, and negotiations with the insurer while you focus on what matters most — your recovery.
In addition, once retained, these lawyers can also:
- Evaluate your claim, determine if you have a valid case, and go over the legal options you have.
- Investigate the incident and secure the evidence needed to show what happened and who was at fault.
- Bring in experts to substantiate your claim.
- Go after a just settlement offer.
- Take your case to trial if the insurance company is unwilling to provide you with a fair settlement and fight for maximum damages.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries and losses in an accident, do not try to take on the insurance company on your own.